Posts Tagged ‘CLK Winery’

Weekend wine work & “WHERE” wine starts

Monday, May 4th, 2009

Lets begin with “where wine starts” – well, it starts in the vineyard naturally.  Without good grapes it is said that not even the best winemakers can make a good wine.

Which leads to my escapades as a member of CLK Winery.  Together with 2 friends, beginning in 2007, we decided to make our own wine.  We took whatever grapes we were able to get our hands on in 2007 and made a Merlot/Zinfandel blend.  Believe it or not it seemed to come out OK.   Sure enough several months after we bottled (without any lab testing) the wine went through a secondary fermentation in the bottle.  Yikes.   Fear not, no exploding bottles.  We dumped whatever we had not yet drunk (or given away) back into the tank so that it could complete malolactic.

As to 2008, we really wanted a Cabernet.  Unfortunately, our schedules are pretty tight and we were forced to do our crush on a set specific day.  So we went to go by the grapes and sure enough there were Cab grapes – and we bought them.  Sadly though as soon as we brought them back to the (very psuedo) winery I knew we messed up.  Our grapes we not fully ripe and they we going to lead to a thin & green wine.

Well, yesterday was back to work at the winery.  Tasting, racking and overall seeing what we’ve got.



The 2007 blend seems to be doing well.  Some minor issues, but not a huge deal.  And the 2008 is shaping up to look like a sub-par batch.  Not that we expected otherwise, just disappointing.

I am writing about this less than positive experience as we all agreed that our first two vintages have taught us a good lesson.  Some bad decisions and no real winemaker could have been overcome had we started off with good quality grapes.  But beginning with fruit that was not the best, and combining that with poor winemaking – a recipe for disaster & something we will hopefully avoid.  As to our “special reserve couvee”… well, time to wake up from that dream.  Hey, at least we have lots of cooking wine!



Racking – CLK winery

Monday, November 24th, 2008

CLK winery is the name my friends gave to the house/garage “winery” we have.  It is really more of a place for three wine loving hobbyists to make a home made wine.  And yesterday was “racking” day # 1.

Racking is a process whereby the wine is siphoned away from its lees (lees are the dead yeast cells that SLOWLY fall to the bottom of the wine and form a bit of a sludge.  This is a process that must be done several times throughout the wine making process.  It is often done with pumps, and sometimes done using gravity – as we did (pictured above).  Just one of the many manual activities necessary for wine making – all activities that contribute to the cost of wine.

After many rackings and before bottling many “professional” wineries will put the wines through one or both of two other processes to remove any solids from the wines.

The first is known as “fining”.  Fining is a process whereby an additive is put into the wine that bonds with the solids and makes them heavier so that they sink rather than float around.  This minimizes the number of necessary rackings by getting these minuscule solids to drop (where they can then be racked) whereby they might otherwise be floating around in the wine.

The second process is called filtering.  This is generally done immediately before bottling.  Basically, a thin pad is inserted into a mechanism while the wine is being pumped towards the bottling machine.  This pad is supposed to catch the minuscule solids before the wine is pumped into the bottles.

Many wines these days advertise “unfiltered”.  There are those who believe that this filtration process strips wines of some of its flavors.  However, skipping this process may also lead tro a wine dropping sediment at a young age.  This sediment is not a flaw – but it is generally undesirable.

OK, been a bit all over the place in this post.  I guess all I’m trying to say is I was racking wines yesterday.  It was not too much fun, especially considering the COOOOLD temperatures.  But it was necessary, and I’m glad racking # 1is done.

Happy NO MANUAL LABOR FOR YOU wine tasting!


Making wine in …NEW JERSEY

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

I woke up bright and early this Sunday morning to press the wine with my two “winery” (yes, I use the term liberally) partners.  Alas, our host, “Mr. C” became the proud daddy of a new baby girl even earlier in the morning.  Mazal Tov GC!  So it was down to “Mr. K” & yours truly “Mr. L” (aka “WTG”).

We had somewhere in the range of 320 liters of must (fermented grape sludge) that when pressed, fit snugly into our super sleek 200 liter stainless steel tank.   Sadly our mini 35 gallon basket press meant we had to load and unload several times.

CLK press

See more pics here.

It was a fun and gratifying mornings work.  I am hopeful that this Sangiovese, following a 14 day maceration period (two weeks of fermenting on its skins), is going to be a balanced, fruit driven beauty.

And just as we finished up, right on time, our esteemed winery host, “Mr. C” showed up.  His timing could not have been better as his hands were full….of BEERS & it was time for football.  Hey, better late than never.  And you know what they say, “IT TAKES A LOT OF GOOD BEER TO MAKE A GOOD WINE”…

As soon as we get the labels and capsules on the 2007’s I’ll be passing out samples to friends.  If you are reading this – YOU ARE A FRIEND.  Drop me a dime (or something) and I’ll make sure there is a bottle with your name on it.

Happy CLK home made WINE TASTING!